Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Teamsters call for strong federal oversight of driverless trucks

Washington — Federal regulation of autonomous trucks must “prioritize both workers and safety,” the International Brotherhood of Teamsters says.

Photo: gorodenkoff/iStockphoto

In a recently released framework document, the Teamsters list suggestions Congress and federal regulators should consider when forming federal policy on autonomous trucks. Among them: Include a requirement for human operators and don’t issue rules that override any on the state level that have “greater protections.”

The labor union provides five principles to guide policy: regulating the vehicle, regulating the operator, regulating operations, interaction with other laws and workforce impacts.

Mandating that autonomous trucks be operated by humans subject to DOT requirements governing commercial driver’s licenses and hours-of-service regulations is among the Teamsters’ top objectives. The union also wants to uphold state regulations that might require more human operators and monitors or greater licensing standards and restrictions on autonomous vehicle use than a federal policy might stipulate.

Other proposed provisions:

  • Authorize the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to revoke operating authority for the use of AVs by any operator at its discretion because of safety issues.
  • Require motor carriers that want to deploy AVs to report the location and function of vehicles in use.
  • Ensure Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards – not a waiver – regulate the design, construction and performance of highly automated vehicles and automated driving systems.
  • Require any recipient of federal funding, federal transit funding or holder of FMCSA operating authority to publicly disclose planned AV use and its expected workforce impacts.

“Strong federal AV policies must prioritize both workers and safety,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a press release. “Any legislation that puts workers and the general public at risk will be met with aggressive opposition by the Teamsters and our allies.”

developing AV law in California holds the Teamsters’ backing. On Sept. 11, the California Senate and Assembly passed A.B. 316, which would prohibit autonomous trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds from operating on state roadways without human drivers.

The legislation also would keep the California Highway Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles from considering permits for AVs until 2029.

O’Brien, in a separate release, affirmed the Teamsters’ backing of the bill while calling on California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to sign it. Neglecting to do so would put “the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of truck drivers at risk, while jeopardizing public safety.”

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Truck driver/equipment operator crushed while loading backhoe onto trailer

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication


Report number: 71-219-2022
Issued by: Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of report: April 18, 2022

A 64-year-old truck driver and equipment operator working for a gravel-hauling and equipment-moving company drove his employer’s truck with an attached flatbed trailer to a jobsite. His task was to load a backhoe and transport it to another site. Although no one witnessed the incident, a backup warning alarm was sounding when first responders arrived, suggesting the driver was operating the backhoe in reverse. It’s possible the driver had started moving the backhoe up the trailer’s two metal ramps, then backed up to better position its wheels. As he was doing this, the wet, muddy tires may have slipped on the ramps, resulting in a rear wheel going off a ramp and causing the backhoe to roll over onto its side. The driver either attempted to jump from the operator’s seat or was thrown from it. He was crushed under the backhoe’s rollover protective structure and died. The backhoe had a seat belt that, if used, would have kept the driver in the seat and within the protective structure as the equipment rolled.

To help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Train equipment operators and ensure they always use a seat belt, including when loading and unloading onto a transport trailer.
  • Use a spotter to provide directions to the equipment operator during loading and unloading to ensure the operator positions equipment correctly for safe movement on and off the trailer.
  • Create a job hazard analysis for safely moving construction equipment.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Safe truck parking: FMCSA’s Hutcheson says federal agencies will team up to ease shortage

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication


Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation

Louisville, KY — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is “really feeling the urgency” to address a national shortage of safe parking spots for truckers who need to comply with federally mandated rest breaks, acting agency administrator Robin Hutcheson said March 24 during a media roundtable at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

report published on the same day in the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Land Line magazine notes that Hutcheson called the issue “one of the top two or three” FMCSA hears about, adding that the message has “gone to the top of the U.S. government.”

Federal hours-of-service regulations require truck drivers to park and rest after being on duty for long periods. In a letter sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Feb. 18, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear and OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer call on the Department of Transportation to prioritize funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to address the issue.

“We know we need to work on this,” Hutcheson said during the roundtable, according to the report. “We know this needs to be addressed. We hear over and over again, ‘I would be a safer driver if I had a place to rest.’ That’s up to us to make sure we’re focusing on that and doing everything we can.”

She added that FMCSA will collaborate with the Federal Highway Administration to remedy the issue. She identified as first steps examining available funding for additional truck parking and ensuring state freight plans include truck parking needs.

During a March 2 hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Buttigieg testified that DOT is “very concerned” about the lack of truck parking, calling it an issue of convenience, safety and emissions. He suggested state DOTs might consider pursuing funding for truck parking from the:

In another update from the roundtable, reported March 28 by Overdrive magazine, Hutcheson said an apprenticeship pilot program that would allow commercial motor vehicle drivers younger than 21 to drive trucks across state lines won’t begin “until late summer, at the earliest.”

Hutcheson said the program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, needs a more secure “data collection methodology” before it can be implemented.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

FMCSA Declares Texas Motor Carrier to be an Imminent Hazard to Public Safety

First published by FMCSA

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Koboat Trucking LLC, USDOT No. 3273682, a Houston-based motor carrier, to be an “imminent hazard” to public safety and ordered the motor carrier to immediately cease all interstate and intrastate operations.  The motor carrier was served the Federal order on March 4, 2022.

On February 3, 2022, a driver operating for Koboat Trucking LLC crashed in Tennessee and killed a Sergeant from the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.  The driver ignored a rolling roadblock and crashed into 2 cars before killing the Sergeant, who had stopped to remove a ladder obstructing the roadway. Koboat Trucking’s driver did not have a commercial driver’s license, was prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles due to a previous positive drug test, and was arrested for being under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.  A subsequent FMCSA review of Koboat Trucking found the motor carrier to be egregiously noncompliant with multiple Federal safety regulations, including: Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing (49 CFR Part 382); Commercial Driver’s License Standards (49 CFR Part 383); Driver Qualification (49 CFR Part 391); Hours of Service of Drivers (49 CFR Part 395); and vehicle Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance (49 CFR Part 396).

Koboat Trucking took no action to ensure its driver was eligible to drive; had it done so, it would have discovered that the driver was not properly licensed, and was prohibited from driving its truck due to a drug test conducted in March 2020 that came back positive for marijuana.  In fact, Koboat Trucking had no safety management controls in place.  Koboat Trucking did not have a program to detect and deter the use of controlled substances by its drivers, did not have a program to ensure its drivers were qualified and licensed, did not have a program to control its drivers’ hours of service, and did not have a program to ensure its vehicles were appropriately inspected and repaired.  Koboat Trucking exercised virtually no oversight over its drivers or vehicles and thus abdicated all responsibility for safety.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Koboat Trucking’s  “…complete and utter disregard for the [federal safety regulations] substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death for your drivers and the motoring public if your operations are not discontinued immediately.”

Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal imminent hazard order may result in civil penalties of up to $28,142 for each violation.  Koboat Trucking LLC may also be assessed civil penalties of not less than $11,256 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without operating authority registration, and up to $15,876 for operating a CMV in interstate commerce without USDOT Number registration.  Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.

A copy of the imminent hazard order issued to Koboat Trucking LLC is available here.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Group petitions FMCSA to delay final rule amending trucker hours-of-service regulations


Photo: Grafissimo /iStockphoto

Washington — A coalition of safety advocacy groups, in conjunction with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider a controversial final rule the agency claims will add flexibility to hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

Submitted June 30 and filed by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Teamsters, the petition requests a stay of the effective date of the final rule – slated for Sept. 29 at press time – until the FMCSA administrator can further review the petition.

Under the rule, announced in a May 14 agency press release and published in the June 1 Federal Register, FMCSA will:

  • Change the short-haul exception to 150 air miles from 100, and 14 hours on duty from 12, to be consistent for rules with long-haul truck drivers.
  • Extend the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
  • Revise the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving.
  • Reinstate the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with sleeper berth compartments.

The final rule doesn’t include a proposed provision that would have allowed covered commercial motor vehicle operators one rest break of up to three consecutive hours during every 14-hour on-duty period.

The petition cites National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing that 4,951 fatalities in incidents involving a large truck occurred in 2018, as well as other research highlighting fatigue-related hazards associated with the profession.

According to preliminary data released in NHTSA’s May 2020 Traffic Safety Facts report, fatalities in incidents involving a large truck are projected to have increased 1% in 2019.

“The final rule is not in the public interest and does not meet the agency’s statutory mission in carrying out its duties to assign and maintain safety as the highest priority,” the groups contend in the petition. “The agency had failed to address the significant risk to public safety posed by fatigued drivers of CMVs at a time when large truck crashes continue to increase.”

Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president, and Lamont Byrd, director of the Teamsters’ safety and health department, voiced their opposition to the final rule in a May 14 press release.

“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”

yrd added: “Extending the workday to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short-haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue. We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”

After multiple delays, FMCSA published a proposed rule in the Aug. 22 Federal Register. The initial comment deadline also was delayed before FMCSA on March 2 submitted the proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review.

In a May 14 video posted on the Department of Transportation’s YouTube channel, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said the final rule’s provisions “will help drivers reach their destination safely without feeling like they’ve got to race against the clock to comply with federal mandates. They will also help truckers get the rest they need when they need it. When safety rules make sense, drivers are better able to comply, and that benefits everyone.”

New final rule from FMCSA officially removes suspended HOS restart provisions from Code of Federal Regulations

Photo: vitpho/iStockphoto

Washington — Commercial motor vehicle drivers are no longer officially required to take a weekly break of at least 34 consecutive hours, including two breaks between 1 and 5 a.m., to comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours-of-service regulations, under a new final rule.

Published in the Sept. 12 Federal Register and effective immediately, the final rule formally withdraws the provisions from the Code of Federal Regulations after Congress suspended them in December 2014 pending further research into their safety ramifications. Continue reading»